Page 20 - CR
P. 20

Compared with the rather austere   The theatre took some nine months
                                            Town Hall, the Austral was of      to build and provided almost
                                            moderne design incorporating up-to-  continuous employment for 40 men.
                                            date appointments which promised   It extended the depth of a full block
                                            exciting times ahead.              between Smith Street and Robertson
                                               It was considered a wonderful new  Street on land previously purchased by
                                            asset for the town.                Dugald Caldwell and added to in
                                                                               partnership by Alexander Anderson.

             Above: Last show at the Town Hall

            Children were the first to
          experience the new talkies with a
          Saturday Matinee on opening day, 21st
          November 1931.
            Mickey Mouse and an Australian-
          British production, Windjammers
          treated over 1000 local enthusiastic
          children. At night, Rio Rita was the
          main attraction. The projection
          equipment was relocated to the new
          theatre over the road, between 11th and
          14th December 1935 when Austral
          Pictures at the Town Hall closed.
            The establishment of a purpose-
          built picture theatre in an isolated
          country town was always greeted with
          great excitement by the community.
          The local newspaper usually waxed
          lyrically over a newly constructed
          building – potentially for the paper, a
                                            Above: First show - 18th December, 1935.  Below: Public Notice on 10th December 1935.
          new source of revenue! Such was the
          case with Narracoorte when the Austral
          was opened on the 18th of December
          1935.  The Narracoorte Herald ran a
          front page story complete with exterior
          photograph and five headlines a couple
          of days before the opening! According
          to the Herald, this came about,
          primarily because Dugald learnt that
          another party was considering the
          establishment of a picture theatre in the
          town and that “the time was ripe… to
          build his theatre or it would be done by
          someone else…”.

          20  2010 CINEMARECORD
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